Every spring, students across the state participate in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), which are tests that measure the degree to which students are learning the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks relative to the expectations for each grade level.
  • Federal and state law require students in grades 3 - 8 and grade 10 to participate in statewide testing in math, English language arts (ELA), and science, technology, and engineering (STE).

  • Passing MCAS in ELA, math, and STE is also a state requirement for high school graduation.

  • Families receive MCAS reports in the fall which provide information on how your child did on the MCAS, in comparison to the school, district and state, and in each "reporting category" such as life sciences, geometry or reading.
  • All students with disabilities are required to participate in scheduled testing for their grade. Students with significant disabilities who are unable to take the standard MCAS tests have the option of participating in MCAS-Alt. MCAS-Alt consists of a portfolio of materials collected throughout the year by students and their teachers. Whether or not a student will participate in MCAS-Alt needs to be determined by each student’s IEP or 504 team prior to the upcoming year. For more information on MCAS-Alt, please refer to DESE’s website.

  • All English Learner (EL) students, except those who are in their first year of enrollment in the US school system, must participate in all MCAS testing scheduled for their grade. Federal and state law also require EL students to participate in the ACCESS for ELLs, which is an assessment used to measure student proficiency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English


Cambridge Public Schools Makes Significant Progress in MCAS
Exceeds State in English Language Arts and Math Across All Grades

On Tuesday, September 19, 2023, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released the MCAS and accountability results for the 2022-2023 school year. Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) is delighted to share that the district has made significant progress in English Language Arts (ELA) and math spanning all grades 3-8 and 10. Overall, we are seeing a return of achievement that is similar to before the COVID pandemic.

Superintendent Victoria L. Greer expressed her enthusiasm, saying “I am incredibly proud of each and every one of our students and dedicated educators.” She continued, “These results  are a testament to their commitment to our students’ academic and personal growth, and it is particularly impressive given the challenges of the last few years.”

Chief of Academics & Schools Dr. Lendozia Edwards added, “We are thrilled to see this progress and look forward to continuing our work to build consistency in practice across all grade levels and subject areas to ensure each of our students has a robust learning experience, beginning in preschool.”

Highlights of the district data include:

  • The percentage of students meeting/exceeding expectations is well above the state in every grade and subject.

% of Students Meeting/Exceeding Expectations: 2023 MCAS





ELA: Grades 3-8



+17 points

ELA: Grade 10



+9 points

Math: Grades 3-8



+12 points

Math: Grade 10



+9 points

  • On average, students in all grades 3-8 and grade 10 experienced moderate or high growth in ELA and math from the previous year.

  • The percentage of students meeting/exceeding expectations in ELA, math, and Science Technology & Engineering (STE) MCAS in grades 3-8 and grade 10 overall are at or above 2019 pre-COVID achievement levels.

  • DESE has deemed Cambridge Public Schools as a whole as making substantial progress towards accountability targets. Moreover, every school is either making substantial progress toward targets or is meeting/exceeding targets. Highlights of where the district exceeded targets include:

    • Reducing chronic absenteeism across grades 1-8;

    • Progress toward attaining English language proficiency for high school students; and

    • Extended engagement rate, which is the sum of the five-year cohort graduation rate plus the percentage of students from the cohort that remain enrolled after five years.

While the district celebrates the progress that has been made, CPS is keenly aware of the opportunities and areas for growth. When the data is disaggregated, it is evident that the district continues to experience challenges in achievement among some student demographic groups. As evident in the District Plan’s four main objectives and 12 core initiatives, CPS is deeply committed to closing the opportunity gap and continuing to implement robust, data-driven systems to support each of our students in achieving their full potential. 

  • Teaching and Learning Framework aligns instructional practices across content areas and grade bands.

  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) supports students’ academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs, with an emphasis on strong Tier 1 instruction.

  • Implementation of elementary and secondary scheduling guidelines among all K-8 schools.

  • Strategic Tutoring for eligible grade 3-8 students and targeted Math/ELA Acceleration Academies for grades 6-8.

“We are deeply committed to the work to ensure each of our students are achieving at a high level,” said Superintendent Greer.” “The work we are doing is intentional and I have no doubt that, with our District Plan as our ‘north star’, we will make meaningful and lasting improvement for each and every one of our young people.”

Information from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

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